Immigrants to UK have contributed £25bn since 2000

Analysis of government data by academics at University College London has shown that immigrants who came to the UK between 2000 and 2011 contributed £25bn to the UK economy. The research also showed that immigrants were less likely to receive benefits or live in social housing than UK citizens.

The research was carried out by Professor Christian Dustmann and Dr Tommaso Frattini at UCL's Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration. They found out that while, on average, UK citizens had paid 7% less in taxes than they had received in state spending, immigrants had paid 4% more in taxes than they had received in benefits.

The report said that this was likely to be partly because immigrants who come to the UK to work are young and fit and therefore less likely than British people to have serious medical conditions that need treatment from the UK's National Health Service.

Immigrants less likely to claim benefits

But, the report finds that, even when allowance is made for their relative youth, immigrants still seem to be less likely to claim unemployment benefit.

A further breakdown of the figures shows that immigrants from outside the European Economic Area have made 'a negative fiscal contribution'. The report states that this is 'partly explained by their demographic structure –non-EEA immigrants have had more children than natives and we have allocated educational expenditure for children to immigrants'.

The report says that, by 2011 there were 6.15m non-EEA immigrants in the UK. These immigrants paid enough tax to fund 86% of the benefits they received leaving a shortfall to the public purse of £100bn.

EEA immigrants pay £8.8bn more than they claim

By 2011 there were 2.85bn immigrants from within the EEA living in the UK. These migrants paid £8.8bn more in taxes than they received in benefits.

Migrants were found also to be more likely to claim working tax credits than UK nationals, perhaps because they are more likely to be working in low-paid jobs. Working tax credits are paid to people in work to supplement their low income particularly when they have children.

The report also found that 43% of non-EEA immigrants to the UK have university degrees. Professor Dustmann said 'It is true that recent migrants are younger but they are also much better educated, so they will take more out of the benefit system.

Graduates contribute more

'But they will also contribute more in the future because they have not yet reached their career peak and their full income potential. Of course, the more you earn, the more you pay in taxes'.

Sir Andrew Green of anti-immigration group Migrationwatch UK said that the report was misleading because it takes no account of future costs of immigration such as the costs of pensions and medical treatment as immigrants grow older.

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